Author Archive: Cathy Kunkel

Energy Analyst Cathy Kunkel is an independent consultant with Kunkel Energy Research. She has testified before regulatory bodies and was a senior research associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She has undergraduate and master’s degrees in physics.


IEEFA Puerto Rico Report: Debt Restructuring Deal for Commonwealth’s Electric Company Only Makes Matters Worse

IEEFA Puerto Rico Report: Debt Restructuring Deal for Commonwealth’s Electric Company Only Makes Matters Worse

Higher Customer Rates, New Burdens on the Economy, Hurdles to Renewables; Transparency Is Lacking, Consultants Are Overpaid, Financial Stability Has Not Been Achieved

[This is the first of five commentaries: Next week, detail on likely increases in electricity rates; fees to consultants and advisors; how the deal falls short of its core goals; short shrift to renewables.] Earlier this year, Puerto Rico enacted the Electric Power Authority Revitalization Act to allow for the restructuring of the Puerto Rico […]

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Appalachia Needs More Than the Sound and Fury of the ‘War on Coal’ Canard

Appalachia Needs More Than the Sound and Fury of the ‘War on Coal’ Canard

Calling for a Serious Conversation About Investment in a Devastated Regional Economy

This much is evident: Coal’s share of the U.S. electricity-generation market is shrinking. It fell to 33 percent in 2015 from 50 percent in 2005 and is showing no sign of recovery. Industry giants like Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, and Peabody Energy have filed for bankruptcy and are worth only a small fraction of […]

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Ohio Ratepayers Get Short Shrift in State’s Refusal to Embrace Renewables and Efficiency Programs


Ohio Ratepayers Get Short Shrift in State’s Refusal to Embrace Renewables and Efficiency Programs


A New Report Shows Legislative Recalcitrance Costing Consumers and Businesses $3 Billion; Regressive Policies Seen as a Sop to Utilities

Reinstating Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards would result in billions of dollars of savings for Ohio ratepayers through 2030. That’s the conclusion of a new Wind Energy Foundation study formally reviewed by IEEFA. Among the study’s major findings: Ohio lawmakers would save Ohio electricity ratepayers over $3 billion by 2030 by ending the […]

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FirstEnergy Throws a Hail Mary Pass in Its Campaign to Keep Aging Power Plants Alive


Scrambling for an End Run Around a Federal Road Block


FirstEnergy plugs away in zombie-like fashion at its undying effort to make ratepayers pick up the tab on aging electricity plants whose time has passed. Despite having been delivered a major setback last week by the Federal Energy Regulator Commission, FirstEnergy is scrambling now for an end run around FERC, even as AEP—similarly hobbled by […]

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Misguided Plan to Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Electric System Is Fraught With Risk and Cost

Misguided Plan to Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Electric System Is Fraught With Risk and Cost

A Deeply Unimaginative Blueprint to Keep a U.S. Commonwealth Addicted to Imported Fuel

Puerto Rico’s sole electricity utility is proposing a plan to rebuild the island’s electricity system in a way that would continue its dependence on imported fossil fuels and require its customers to pay for over $1 billion worth of potentially unnecessary infrastructure. That’s the gist of comments we’ve filed with the Puerto Rico Electric Commission […]

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FirstEnergy Brings Its Bailout Show Back to West Virginia


FirstEnergy Brings Its Bailout Show Back to West Virginia


In Mon Power Deal, an Attempt to Have Ratepayers Subsidize a Failing and Unneeded Coal-Fired Plant

FirstEnergy is opening a new front in its regional campaign to shift the risks of running uncompetitive coal plants from shareholders to captive ratepayers. The latest offensive: in West Virginia, where the company revealed on Wednesday that it wants its regulated West Virginia subsidiary, Mon Power, to buy Pleasants Power Station, one of its struggling […]

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Audio: Our Comments on Pipeline-Overbuild Risks in Appalachia

Risks Associated With Natural Gas Infrastructure Expansion in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia

We’ve just posted this audio from our press conference earlier this week on our new study, “Risks Associated With Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion Across Appalachia.”  In addition to comments from IEEFA, the audio includes remarks by Joe Lovett, executive director of Appalachian Mountain Advocates. The report examines the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would traverse West Virginia […]

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Two Pipeline Expansion Projects in Appalachia Indicate a Rush Toward Overbuilding

Two Pipeline Expansion Projects in Appalachia Indicate a Rush Toward Overbuilding

Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines Pose Risk to Ratepayers, Communities, and Investors

We’ve published a report today that concludes that two natural gas pipelines proposed for construction from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina are indicative of a rush toward industry overbuilding. The study, “Risks Associated With Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion Across Appalachia,” examines the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would traverse West Virginia into eastern […]

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By Allowing the Pepco-Exelon Merger to Proceed, Utility Regulators in D.C. Are Assuring Higher Bills for Ratepayers

By Allowing the Pepco-Exelon Merger to Proceed, Utility Regulators in D.C. Are Assuring Higher Bills for Ratepayers

‘Expensive wedding gifts are nice. But all the wedding gifts in the world can’t make a bad marriage good.’

Betty Anne Kane had it right in stating this week that Exelon’s acquisition of Pepco “benefits Pepco and Exelon shareholders but does not provide sustainable benefits to District ratepayers.” Kane, who cast the dissenting vote in a 2-1 decision by the District of Columbia Public Service Commission to allow the deal to go forward, denounced it in […]

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Another Utility Bailout Is in the Works in Ohio

Another Utility Bailout Is in the Works in Ohio

Dayton Power & Light Follows in the Shameless Footsteps of FirstEnergy and American Electric Power

Dayton Power & Light has decided to follow in the shameless footsteps of FirstEnergy and American Electric Power as it seeks a ratepayer bailout for its coal-fired generation in Ohio. DP&L is pushing the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to approve a 10-year power purchase agreement under which DP&L Ohio customers would pay for the […]

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